India rubber is made from a kind of gum that comes from the bark of certain trees, that grow in hot and moist climates. These rubber trees are found mostly in the hot parts of America, and in West and Central Africa, growing wild in the great forests. But now the rubber trees are also grown in plantations in the East Indies and Malay and other places; because rubber is so much wanted, that it pays to grow the trees on purpose.
The gum is got by cutting the bark of the tree with a sharp knife and fastening a little cup under the cut. The liquid gum drips and trickles slowly down into the cup. When the cup is full, it is emptied and put back again. The liquid gum is then dried in sun, till it becomes thick and hard. After that, it is carefully cleaned and washed, and treated in various ways until it becomes the rubber that is used for all kinds of useful purposes.
Rubber is very useful because it is very tough, elastic, and water-proof. It is used in many ways, but especially for motorcar tyres and bicycle tyres. A very large amount of rubber is wanted every year for this purpose alone. Then rubber is used in making mackintoshes or raincoats, and tarpaulin (or waterproof sheets for covering things against the rain). Balls, soles for boots, hot-water bottles, elastic belts, toys, and many other things also, are made of Indian rubber.